Stop the Dollar General in Swannanoa
Stop the Dollar General in Swannanoa
Why this petition matters
We, the residents of the Swannanoa community and beyond, petition you to halt the construction of the Dollar General Store on Highway 70 between Rowland Road and Regar Avenue while you review the permits for the construction. This Dollar General does not meet the criteria for a property zoned as a Neighborhood Service use, and if constructed, could be a life safety issue to this community.
The parcel of land at 110 Rowland Road is zoned NS, "Neighborhood Service District." According to the Buncombe County Zoning Ordinance, any retail or commercial business in an NS zone should be "compatible with the residential character of the area" and provide a service to the neighborhood. (Sec. 78-640, e)
As evidenced by signatures herein, the immediately surrounding community rejects the proposed service. There are three Dollar General Stores within five miles of this location and two grocery stores within two miles. There are residential homes in the immediate vicinity of this property, establishing a residential "character" rather than a commercial one.
The Zoning Ordinance for NS zones also specifies that buildings should not "cause obnoxious noise...or lighting objectionable to surrounding residents; nor should they visually distract from the overall appearance of the neighborhood." This Dollar General store does not meet this criterion.
Adjacent to the property is a playground and school. ArtSpace Charter School has been located at 2030 US Highway 70 since 2001. Approximately 400 students in kindergarten through eighth grade attend ArtSpace. The store would bring an increase in traffic and unnecessary risk to campus and the residential community. See "How Dollar Stores Become a Magnet for Crime and Killing" (ProPublica,2020).
Traffic in this neighborhood is currently at capacity. The schools drop off and dismissal traffic is routed along Regar, Rowland, and Sherwood roads. In the fall of 2021, the school completed a full traffic study, implementing safety strategies and working with the Department of Transportation to identify the safest traffic patterns. The DOT shared that the roads were at capacity and could not handle more traffic.
Further, the existing stoplight fronting the property on Highway 70 is scarcely sufficient for the current traffic demands. It is an off-centered light where Rowland Road and Buckeye Cove Road meet Highway 70. The elevation change between Highway 70 and the site is notable and problematic for drivers. There is no safe way to arrange the parking lot entrances/exits to the Dollar General. Either there is a risk to Rowland Road, which negatively impacts residents, or a risk to Highway 70, which negatively impacts general traffic and the school.
The survey and relevant data on record is outdated and does not take into account recent population expansion, including two housing developments for low income families. While the Dollar General may use population growth as evidence of need for their convenience sites, we would argue that both are closer to another store.
It is also worth noting that no adjustments have been made to the Highway 70 corridor in Swannanoa to suit these new residential developments. There are no sidewalks within neighborhood developments or along Highway 70, making foot traffic perilous for pedestrians and drivers. The only sidewalks nearby are on the school's property for student use. The school anticipates an unwelcome and problematic increase of campus foot traffic throughout the school day.
Therefore we ask you to immediately halt construction while you review the permits.